Bi-Weekly Report – January 15, 2021
USACOE Federal Project
The tentative financial matrix for funding the Federal Project has been posted to both the town web page and the town Facebook page, where it has been copied and reposted to various other social media sites by residents. It should still be noted that no final decision has been made and that the Board continues to search for alternate revenue sources to mitigate the tax impact in the project area.
Capital Improvement/Fire Station
Our financial advisors, DEC Associates, have been made aware of the Board’s desire to move ahead on the replacement of the south fire station, possibly with a “Public Safety” building that could include both Fire and Police. DEC does not feel that there is any need for them to become directly involved in the financing of this project until we have a clear idea of the design and cost of the project.
Despite the passing of the contractor involved in potential litigation with the project engineer, the Town Attorney is still uncomfortable with the possibility that the contractor’s estate could draw NTB into litigation. He still believes we should insist upon assurances from the engineer that NTB will be held harmless in the event such litigation should materialize. I have asked Mr. Edes to contact the engineer and discuss what form such assurances could take.
The project contractor has been at the Town Hall preparing to start renovation and repair work momentarily.
This project remains on hold but the Environmental and Biological assessment required by FEMA is nearing completion. Work to complete part of the project may begin soon, with any incomplete portion pushed off until the environmental window reopens in November.
Personnel from various County facilities have been reassigned to assist with the Covid-19 vaccination program, resulting in the suspension of some services – including the closing of most library branches. The Board of Commissioners will entertain a resolution to officially support North Topsail Beach’s efforts to secure a 1% increase in occupancy taxes to help pay for the Federal Storm Damage Mitigation project.
Corps of Engineers: ICW Crossing and Channel to Jacksonville Dredging & Inlet Dredge
Dredging is underway and expected to continue for 60 days or so. The expected volume of sand to be placed is 250,000 cu yds.
Our relationship with the current North End vendor has been terminated, and we are moving ahead with the SurfCast program from the Otto Project. Parking areas have been identified, signage ordered, and required repairs and modifications are underway. The app will be ready for uploading by “customers” early in February at which point we’ll begin educational and marketing efforts. Sales of yearly 4x4 passes at the North End have been suspended.
Staff has taken the first steps to begin the '21/'22 budget process by distributing budget worksheets to department heads for completion and return by month end. Management review of these submissions will occur during the first week of February, with submission to the Board to follow at a retreat or budget meeting as directed.
The town is sponsoring a “sold out” series of spin classes for employees from January 27th to May 26th during lunch hour on Wednesdays. Each class will have 10 people in attendance.
Environmental Impact Statement – Terminal Groin
In conversation with USACOE’s Mickey Suggs, I learned that in lieu of the public meetings required by the Corps in such situations, they have decided to put together a video presentation on the project, in cooperation with our consultant, discussing what is being proposed. The video would then be placed online for interested parties to view and provide comments on.
North Carolina Resilient Coastal Communities Program
Following some confusion on who could actually apply for grants to pursue resiliency projects, Surf City, Topsail Beach, and North Topsail Beach, under the umbrella of the Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Committee, submitted a grant proposal for the island to address various resiliency issues – stormwater, bayside flooding, etc. Our Deb Hill worked closely with our neighboring towns to put together an outstanding application which will hopefully secure grant funding to work on some specific projects for the benefit of Topsail island as a whole and NTB particularly.
NC Governor’s Crime Commission Grant Awards
Thanks to the hard work of our Lt. Andy Paige, we have been awarded a grant of $24,487.09 from the Department of Public Safety. These grants can be used for a large variety of law enforcement programs. In this case, the grant will be used to purchase body cameras for the protection of both officers and public.
The HOA at the St. Regis has invited Chief Soward to accept a gift to commemorate the NTBFD’s rescue of a stranded Sea Turtle last year. The Fire Department was also instrumental in rescuing the crew of the Salty Boy, the shrimp boat which sunk off of the New River Inlet two weeks ago. This rescue resulted in some equipment damage which is covered by insurance.